Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

Monster penguin fossils discovered in North Canterbury

Dr. Paul Scofield senior curator at Canterbury Museum holds the fossil a tibiotarsus left next to a similar bone of an Emperor Penguin in Christchurch New Zealand New Zealand has discovered the remains of a 'monster penguin' that was basically the size of a human
Steven Clarke | 17 August, 2019, 03:23

These included parrots, eagles, burrowing flying mouse and MoA - birds, whose growth could reach 3.6 meters. This fossil confirms that penguins developed their giant size early during their evolution, according to the paper, and demonstrates that New Zealand was likely a hot spot for penguin species during the Paleocene period that followed the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs.

The animal, dubbed "monster penguin" by Canterbury Museum, adds to the list of now-extinct very big New Zealand fauna.

The fossilized remains of a huge penguin nearly the size of an adult human have been found in New Zealand's South Island, scientists announced on Wednesday.

An Emperor penguin nicknamed "Happy Feet" slides into the Southern Ocean from its crate on the New Zealand research ship Tangaroa near Campbell Island, New Zealand September 4, 2011.

Move over, mega parrot: scientists have just revealed that a giant species of penguin - about 1.6m tall - once lived in New Zealand.

The giant penguin - Crossvallia waiparensis - stood at 1.6 metres tall.

Scientists discovered a monster penguin that roamed the Oceanic country some 60 million years ago.

Evidence of the giant bird, which is about 1.6 metres tall and weighs up to 80 kilograms, was discovered in Waipara by amateur palaeontologist Leigh Love in 2018.

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The findings were published this week in Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology.

"When the Crossvallia species were alive, New Zealand and Antarctica were very different from today", according to Scofield, senior curator of natural history at the museum.

Drs Vanesa De Pietri, Paul Scofield and Gerald Mayr examine a Crossvallia waiparensis fossil at Canterbury Museum. Nineteen million-year-old fossils of a giant parrot dubbed 'Squawkzilla, ' for example, were found in Central Otago. Based on the analysis of C. waiparensis' leg bones, Scofield and his colleagues think the species' feet played a bigger role in swimming than those of modern penguins, but it is also possible that the bird had not fully adapted to standing upright.

The researchers believe there are two explanations for why these giant birds are no longer around and the first has to do with how New Zealand had a more tropical climate millions of years ago, but has since cooled down.

A human-sized penguin, larger than any current species, has been identified from fossils, the latest discovery from an area gaining a reputation as being rich in previously-unknown remains.

Study researchers Vanesa De Pietri, Paul Scofield and Gerald Mayr look at a Crossvallia waiparensis fossil at Canterbury Museum in New Zealand.

It is the fifth ancient penguin species described from fossils uncovered at Waipara, where a river cuts into a cliff of greensand.

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